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Proposed highway name change would honor Kaszynski brothers

LaSalle News Tribune

Tuesday, November 14, 2017  |  Article  |  

Transportation (91) , Veterans (95) Rezin, Sue--State Senate 38

U.S. 6 between Spring Valley and Peru could have a new name in the near future.

Thursday, state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) announced that legislation has passed that would rename the stretch of highway the Kaszynski Brothers Memorial Highway.

The legislation was sponsored by Rezin and passed by the Senate Thursday.

The stretch of highway runs from Mary Street in Spring Valley to Harrison Street in Peru.

The Kaszynski brothers are six Peru natives who all served in World War II.

“To have six brothers all serve our country in World War II is not only a unique story, but it’s one that deserves special recognition,” Rezin said in a press release. “While we can never do enough to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice, naming this road in honor of the Kaszynski brothers is a small token of our appreciation of them, as they fought so bravely for our country.

“Naming this stretch of Rt. 6 will also help future generations know about the Kaszynski brothers, their story, and what they meant to Peru, LaSalle County, and our country. This family and all our veterans deserve the utmost respect and honor.”

The Kaszynski brothers served all over the world during World War II in places such as the Panama Canal Zone, New Guinea, the Philippines and Iceland, according to the press release.

Five of the brothers served in the U.S. Army during World War II: Bernard, Florian, Thaddeus, Alex Jr., and Richard. The other brother, Chester, served with the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II and with the US Army during the Korean War.

“The Army cleaned the house out a long, long time ago,” Alex Jr. said. 

Alex Jr. was the only brother who was seriously wounded in action in the Philippines and was awarded the Purple Heart.

“It’s been 1945 since I was in there getting hurt,” Alex said. “It was hell, but it’s over now.”  

The two surviving brothers, Alex and Chester, were honored at a Peru Veterans Day celebration last year.

“That’s all that’s left,” Alex said.  “That’s all there is just him and me.” 

He said he grew up just one block north of U.S. 6 in Peru. He’s been aware of the intention to name a street for his family and his happy the efforts are ongoing.

“I’m happy that it’ still going on,” he said. “Nothing stays the same.”

Alex said the good news comes just in time for Veterans day, and he intends to be part of the Peru schools’ observation of the holiday. 

Senate Joint Resolution 25 (SJR 25) now heads to the House for consideration.